Binding Tariff Information: What Is It?


What is a Binding Tariff Information?

A Binding Tariff Information (BTI) decision is a written tariff classification of your goods. It’s not a legal requirement, but it provides assurance that your goods have the correct commodity code or Harmonized tariff code. This is important, as different classifications have different tariffs and you want to make sure you apply the correct tariff.

For some goods, there are import- or export licensing requirements. It could also be that certain quotas or quantitative restrictions apply. The Binding Tariff Information alerts you in advance to any restrictions or licensing requirements that apply. It also helps calculate customs duties and export refunds. These are based on tariff classification & rates which relates to the above-mentioned requirements & duty calculations.

A BTI is issued by the Taxation and Customs Union of the EU. It is legally binding on all EU Customs administrations.

How Long is a Binding Tariff Information Valid?

A BTI is generally valid for 3 years (6 years, of issued before May 2016). Next to expiry there is another reason for the validity of a BTI to end.

A change in legislation can lead to non-compliance of a BTI. Such a BTI then ceases to be valid. This can be due to one of the following cases:

a change in the Combined Nomenclature (CN) or any other nomenclature which is based on it or which provides for further subdivisions to it (e.g. abolition of the tariff nomenclature code for which the BTI decision was issued)
a Commission measure to determine the tariff classification of goods for which the BTI decision was issued, or based on decisions of the European Court of Justice or National court decisions.

In these cases, it is advisable to apply for a new BTI decision.

How Do You Apply for a BTI Decision?

Since October last year, all BTI-related processes are electronic. If you want to apply for a BTI decision you have to use the Trader Portal. You can either use the EU Customs Trader Portal, or the national trader portal if one is available. Member states that host a national BTI system offer a national trader portal. Information on how to access the EU Customs Trader Portal can be found here.

The following countries have national Trader Portals: CroatiaGermany and Spain.

Important requirements (more information on the Customs and Taxation site of the European Commission)

You must:

  • apply only if you are planning an import or export transaction
  • make a separate application for each type of product In case of different features and or technological requirements.**
  • give a detailed description of your goods, including images or samples, if possible. This is to allow the goods to be recognized and will also help customs determine the correct classification.
  • ensure that all the information you provide is accurate and complete. Any decisions based on incomplete or inaccurate information will be annulled. Please note that this also applies to technical documentation and leaflets.

** In case of a product group with similar features or technological requirements, a BTI can be requested for the product group, for example, pencils or T-shirts in different colours. Of course, these different colours should be mentioned in the application.

Questions and Assitance

The many customs related processes and procedures can get complicated. If you have any questions regarding MRN or other import or export-related issues, you can contact one of our experts here.